San Francisco-based Kaggle has raised an $11 million Series A round from Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, SV Angel, and others.
Slide’s Max Levchin has also been named its chairman.
Kaggle is a platform for solving some of the world’s toughest data problems. NASA, Delloite, and The University of Michigan have all turned to Kaggle‘s pool of 17,000 PhD-level scientists to solve complex problems and create winning models.
Algorithms, which are at the heart of solving these complex data problems, are posted to Kaggle’s site continuously. As they’re posted, solutions become clearer and eventually the purveyor of that problem has an improved theory.
Kaggle sets up real-time leaderboards for each problem that’s being solved and turns them into competitions to foster community engagement. Whoever solves the problem wins a prize.
When Kaggle is working with sensitive material, competitions are held privately using a selected group of scientists that are pre-screened.
Past projects include mapping HIV trends and Dark Matter in outer space. The latter was commissioned by NASA, and its European counterparts, the European Space Agency and The Royal Astronomical Society.
“The first time we could prove Kaggle worked was with HIV research. In a week and a half, we were able to outdo four years of research,” says Kaggle CEO Anthony Goldbloom.
Some of the prizes are pretty unbelievable. Dr. Richard Murkin, the billionaire CEO of Heritage Provider Network, has personally put up $3 million and posted a problem based on data from his company.
The company’s revenue currently comes from a platform fee, charged to those who sponsor each study. “Once we scale up, the idea is to take a percentage of each prize. We hope to do tens of thousands of these studies each year,” says Kaggle’s Chief Data Scientist Jeremy Howard.